Clarke Monthly June 2024

Nurse Honor Guard Honor Memories of Colleagues

As a retired nurse, a newspaper article entitled, “Once a Nurse Always a Nurse”, caught my attention. This is how I came to become involved with the Northern Shenandoah Valley Nurse Honor Guard, a local chapter of the national organization. Approximately 17 nurses comprise the Front Royal-based group that meets every other month.

Their mission is honoring nurses with a special ceremony at a funeral, wake or graveside. Northern Shenandoah Nurse Honor Guard will travel to attend services in a 60 
mile radius. 

Any nurse’s family can request a Nurse Honor Guard service. The group discusses with family details of the nurse’s career, which are incorporated into the ceremony. Special poems and nurse related passages are read. Unique to the nursing profession is the Nightingale Lamp, which is used in a special final tribute. 

Northern Shenandoah Valley Nurse Honor Guard members attend the ceremony in white uniform, cap, and cape — the traditional nurse attire. Services are free of charge but donations are accepted which are applied to service materials.

Northern Shenandoah Valley Nurse Honor Guard welcomes new members to join our Facebook group. For information and to contact for joining, please 

— by Cynthia Moore

Rosemont Leadership Nominees Announced

Above: The Clarke County Education Foundation’s 2024 nominees for the Rosemont Leadership Award are Gabriel Ignacio, Anna Hornbaker, Sydney Kelble, and Delaney Collins.

The Clarke County Education Foundation (CCEF) is delighted to announce the nominees for this year’s Rosemont Leadership Award, established to honor a Clarke County High School graduating student demonstrating outstanding leadership potential. The Rosemont Leadership Award, CCEF’s most distinguished and substantial scholarship, grants the winner $10,000. It is funded by Biff Genda, proprietor of Historic Rosemont, and a matching gift from CCEF. The presentation will occur on Sunday, May 19 at 6pm during CCHS’s Senior Recognition Night.

The scholarship is being judged by a 5-person committee of local community members. This year the committee members are  Jay Arnold, Mayor of Berryville; Matthew Bass, attorney at Burnett & Williams and elected member of the Clarke County Board of Supervisors; Lauren McKay Cummings, Communications Strategist II & Employee Communications at Navy Federal Credit Union; Suni Mackall, retired Commonwealth’s Attorney for Clarke County; and Marianne Schmidt, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Bank of Clarke.

The teachers and staff of Clarke County High School voted on the top four leaders from the Class of 2024. A point based system was then used to select the final four nominees.

Those nominees are:

Delaney Collins is a member of the National Honor Society and has served as president of the CCHS Environmental club for two years. During that time she organized a community wide Pop-Up Thrift Shop that raised money for FISH of Clarke County.

Anna Hornbaker is the Interact Club president, Student Council vice president and a member of National Honor Society and Health Occupations Students of America(HOSA). She is also captain of the varsity softball team. She enjoys taking a variety of challenging classes at the high school with a focus on science classes and hopes to one day be a dermatologist.

Gabriel Ignacio moved to Clarke County in his third grade year. Since then he has become an active member of his local Scout Troop as an Eagle Scout, a member of the Student Council Administration for Clarke County High School, and the Robotics team programming department lead. Gabriel also participates in the Chess Club and Scholastic Bowl team. He loves camping and hiking as well as playing video games.

Sydney Kelble is a Senior and IB Diploma Candidate at Clarke County High School. She serves as President of the National Art Honors Society, senior class vice president, and served as junior class treasurer last year. She is also an active member of CCHS’s Chapter of the National Honor Society and the Environmental Club, and dedicates time towards service endeavors through both of those clubs.

Johnson-Williams Middle School Dedicates New Mary Patricia Reynolds Foyer

By Rebecca Maynard

On September 8, 1964, Mary Patricia Reynolds walked through the doors of Clarke County High School and quietly made history as its first Black student. Nearly 60 years later, on April 19, community members gathered at Johnson-Williams Middle School (which then was Clarke County High School) to dedicate the Mary Patricia Reynolds Foyer and unveil a new mural by Mikisa Shaajhante.

According to Encyclopedia Virginia, desegregation began in Virginia on February 2, 1959, after a nearly three-year battle in the federal courts. During these legal battles, the courts overturned many of Virginia’s anti-desegregation laws and eventually ordered the admittance of small numbers of Black students into formerly all-white schools in several locations. Following this initial school desegregation, public officials in Virginia tried to derail integration. Black students who sought to transfer into white schools were forced to go through a complex selection process. The majority of applicants 
were rejected. 

At the same time, state investigative committees attempted to reduce the influence of the NAACP in Virginia, and sought to make it more difficult for the organization to file additional school desegregation lawsuits in the state. As a result of these and other policies, school desegregation in Virginia proceeded slowly. As late as 1965, fewer than 12,000 of the approximately 235,000 Black students in Virginia went to 
desegregated schools.

“The Clarke County Board of Education in 1965 is to be commended for not choosing the course of action taken by Prince Edward County, who closed their public school system for five years to avoid desegregation,” said Dr. David James, a former history teacher for Clarke County Public Schools and one of the first three Black teachers who integrated the Clarke County High School faculty in 1966. 

“Today is a day of history. Mary Patricia Reynolds’ decision to attend Clarke County High School was perhaps the most challenging decision she would ever make in her young life as a teenager,” James said. “However, she was bold, brave, and courageous. She was a loving daughter, sister, a good student, an athlete, and a warm and engaging young lady. Mary Patricia Reynolds was successful and became a symbol for other students to follow. She should from this day forward be remembered with pride and admiration for the courage that she and her loving, supportive family needed when embarking on a path of uncertainty and potential danger in desegregating a high school in Virginia as a freedom of 
choice student.”

Johnson-Williams student Lia Staples spoke about Reynolds’ experiences. “When she came to Clarke County High, most people found her to be a very pleasant person,” Staples said. “Unfortunately, there were some students who didn’t feel the same as others and were rude and offensive to her. She had amazing self control and never gave in to taunting and bullying. She belonged to Future Home Builders of America and was on the basketball team. When Pat switched high schools, she faced hardships. She could have graduated valedictorian, but her grades did not transfer from Johnson-Williams. She joined the Marine Corps and passed away at the young age of 46. It should be known that her actions were just as important as those of Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, Jr.”

“I’m quite honored to be here,” said Dorothy Davis. “Eleven and a half years ago, Patricia’s mother, Mrs. Patricia Reynolds Maxwell, thought it was time for the school system, for the county, to give some notice to Patricia for all she’d done in her life, especially as the first Black graduate of Clarke County High School. She planted that seed, and her children nurtured it and it’s grown into what we have today. This would not have occurred without their tenacity. Mrs. Maxwell is not here in the flesh, but she’s looking down on us and she’s smiling at her children who pushed this forward, and she’s thankful for all of you who found this important enough 
to participate.”

Clifford Reynolds, Patricia’s younger brother, said he wanted to honor their mother, who had the insight in 1964 to speak to his sister about attending Clarke County High School.

“She said somebody had to open the door. I’m sure she didn’t know at that time that it would eventually become a historical event,” Reynolds said. “Mary Patricia, known as Tricia by her family and friends, was a determined person who wanted to do what was right. Even though she and Mama are no longer with us to celebrate this milestone, we are sure they are smiling down from heaven and rejoicing with us.”

Beth Williams, director of the Clarke County Education Foundation, explained that Reynolds’ family has been funding a yearly $500 scholarship in her honor since 2018. The foundation will be funding the scholarship this year, and community members are encouraged to donate so that the scholarship can become permanent. Visit or call 540-955-6103 for 
more information. 

“This dedication was a great honor for our school,” said Johnson-Williams Middle School assistant principal Yvonne Rivera. “The work isn’t done, and we still have things we need to do to make sure our schools are more inclusive.”

“Mary Patricia Reynolds should be admired by all students in Clarke County Public Schools, especially those of color, James said. “Students like her are our hope for the future. May this dedication become a permanent and positive symbol of change in Clarke County history.”

My Resolution: Be Jean

By Alice Reynolds, January 2024

want to do differently and better this coming year? You hear the same answers all the time: lose weight, eat better, exercise more  take that trip that keeps getting shoved aside. Mine came as a revelation and like most revelations, it came at 3 o’clock in the morning. And it’s only a single thing.  

2022 was a rough year. I became very ill, and my friend Jean became ill as well. I was sent to a specialist at UVA Hematology. She was sent to John Hopkins. We both suffered through tests and procedures, poking and prodding, trying to get to the root of our problems. 

She started chemo. I started a protocol of pills and blood transfusions. We were texting each other. “How you feeling? Any better today?” We spoke the language of the sick. We could say things to each other we couldn’t say to our families and friends. We shared our fears and the helpless feeling of having to give control of our bodies to others. Whatever was going on with us was out of our hands. Yet she smiled through the discomfort, had bright words for all, held her head high, all with a cheerfulness that put those around her at ease.

We continued to text, trying to boost each other through our harrowing ordeals. During one particularly painful bone biopsy, Gary held my hand as I almost broke his fingers through the agony. “Be Jean! Be Jean!” He was saying be brave, be stoic, grit your teeth and get through it. Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up. 

She had more chemo and lost her hair.  I became so weak that I had to enter a nursing home. She made cookies for me when she could get to the kitchen and had a picture of my home blown up to put on my wall. It was my inspiration to fight through this awful thing. We were fighting 
separately, together. 

I returned home four months later. The latest protocol seemed to be working. I was getting stronger; Jean continued to go to Baltimore. I continued to go to Charlottesville. I was getting better. She was not.

We entered 2023. We still texted. “I’m going for another consult. No more tests.” This, from Jean. Still she soldiered on, head high, eyes bright, and a smile for all around her. 
My hero. We went to the museum and sat outside eating ice cream afterwards. She finished an entire root beer float. It’s one of my favorite memories of her. Sitting with her friend Barb, soaking up the sun of early spring and loving life. I felt strong enough that Gary and I went on vacation to South Carolina. Two days in, we got the call that she was gone. I think about her every day. So, my resolution this year is simple: be Jean. Be brave and stoic whatever comes my way. When trouble rears its ugly head, I won’t go down the rabbit hole. I’ll look up and I’ll see the faces of my friends and family, without whom I never could have gotten through that horrible year. I’ll be happy, smile, and embrace what is given me. For we know too well that tomorrow is not a given.

Earth Day 54: A Sense of Wonder On The Farm And Senate Bill 697

By Bobby Whitescarver

My wife and I are cattle farmers in Virginia’s legendary Shenandoah Valley. Early in our marriage, Jeanne gave me a nickname: “Walk Slow, Stand Around.” Yep, that’s me. Sure, it’s funny. And it’s true. But I’m not lazy; I just wonder a lot. As a farmer, I’m exposed to so many things in nature that just leave me in a state of awe.

I asked Jeanne, “What gives you a sense of wonder?”

She didn’t hesitate: “Daffodils and young calves running.”

I wonder at those, too. A bunch of newborn calves running with their tails in the air and their mothers chasing after them is a sight to behold. I stand in amazement every time our border collie does an outrun to bring a herd of cattle to the barn. 

Tree swallows arrived on our farm this year on March 14. Each year, I wonder when they will come; that’s when spring begins for me. They migrate here from Florida, Cuba, and Mexico to nest and raise their young. We put up nesting boxes for them. Their metallic blue wings and white breast are unmistakable. They fly in squadrons all summer in pursuit of flying insects. I stand around and watch.

When I see rays of sunshine beaming through holes in big white and gray puffy clouds, I have to stop and wonder. It’s just so beautiful and awe inspiring. A ray of that light starts one of the greatest natural processes on the planet: photosynthesis. It’s what gives us green pastures for our cows to graze in. It’s what makes trees’ leaves grow and then fall into streams to feed the aquatic ecosystem. We had thousands of native trees and shrubs planted along the water courses on our farm to support this miraculous process and to provide wildlife habitat.

My wife and I are regen farmers. “Regen” is short for “regenerative,” meaning we produce wholesome food while regenerating our land’s ecosystem services, such as the production of clean water, clean air, wildlife habitat and renewable energy. 

We raise beef cattle — they’re ruminants, which have multiple stomachs that make them capable of digesting the cellulose in grass. Cows, and other grazing ruminants such as sheep and goats, are mobile cellulose-digesting protein and fertilizer factories. These animals harvest their own food and fertilize the soil, which makes the grass grow more vigorously. This regenerative cycle helps the planet too: The more vigorously a plant grows, the more carbon it captures from the air, reducing greenhouse gasses.

The rays of sun beam down. The grasses and trees grow, capturing carbon from the air. The rays of sun also beam down on the solar panels we installed on one of our barns, producing renewable energy.

I stand and wonder as the direct current from the solar panels hums through the inverters, converting it to alternating current before it enters the grid. We would like to install more solar panels, but our utility company limits the production of renewable energy that can go into its grid. We also have some land well suited for solar panels, but our local government, and many others across the commonwealth, have severely restricted farmers’ rights to 
install them.

Those human actions inspire a different kind of wondering: Why would the utility companies and the government restrict our ability to produce renewable energy? And that kind of wondering should lead to action, not standing around.

Senate Bill 697, introduced this past legislative session, intended to remove local government authority for utility scale solar until the locality reached a cap of 4 percent of its land in panels. Control of solar siting rested with the State Corporation Commission. The bill was tabled until next year because it met with so much resistance from local governments, but that gives us an opportunity to work together and get the bill right. I wonder: Can we reduce the cap to 1- or 2 percent with the caveat that localities adopt stringent 
siting ordinances?

We don’t have time to stand around. The demand for electricity in Virginia has never been higher or more complicated. The Virginia Clean Economy Act sunsets fossil fuel electric generation by 2050. And Virginia is now the world’s epicenter for data centers, which suck at least 20 percent of Dominion Energy’s supply, and plans for more data centers are in the unsecured “nobody’s watching” pipeline.

As the country observes Earth Day, our Virginia legislators could — and should — remove barriers for properly sited solar installations.This article originally appeared in the Virginia Mercury, Bobby Whitescarver is co-owner of Whiskey Creek Regenerative Farming, a watershed restoration consultant, an award-winning writer, and teaches natural resources management at James Madison University. He serves on the board of directors of the Berryville-based nonprofit, The Downstream Project.

Annual Mother’s Day Garden Fair at Blandy Farm 

Mark your calendars for May 11 and 12, the much anticipated 34th annual Mother’s Day Weekend Garden Fair at Blandy Experimental Farm, the home of the State Arboretum of Virginia., located at 400 Blandy Farm Lane in Boyce.

The Garden Fair is the biggest fundraising event of the year for the Foundation of the State Arboretum, the nonprofit that supports Blandy Experimental Farm and the State Arboretum’s varied collections and public education programs. In its 34th year, this Mother’s Day tradition Garden Fair brings garden enthusiasts from across Clarke, Frederick, Shenandoah, Warren and Loudoun Counties and far beyond, up to a 300-mile radius to purchase the best selection of native plants, annuals, perennials, herbs, trees, shrubs, garden tools and more.

More than 50 vendors will be joining them for this year’s event, representing a huge array of crafts, plants, foods and beverages, nonprofit services and educational groups, gardening supplies, and a lot more.

The Garden Fair is held rain or shine, 9am to 4pm. Event tickets are $10 per car in advance, or $15 at the gate. Tickets are good for admission 
both days. 

Visit for more information.

New Fees at Sweet Run Park

Sweet Run State Park, just over the Blue Ridge in Loudoun County off Harpers Ferry Road (Route 671) will implement a $10 parking fee for guests beginning on May 6, 2024. 

Virginia’s newest state park doesn’t have a contact station yet, so guests will be able to pay using a self-pay envelope found at the pay stations located at each of the park’s entrances and parking areas. The pay stations accept cash, check or Visa, Mastercard or 
Discover cards. 

Guests can also purchase an annual pass to avoid daily parking fees at Sweet Run, as well as all Virginia State Parks. “We made it through the first few months of the transition into a new park and now comes the parking fee collection time that all guests were anticipating,” said Sweet Run State Park Manager Kevin Bowman. “Parking revenue will be used to continue to develop Virginia State Parks and its programs. Just a reminder that purchasing an annual pass is a great way to avoid daily park fees and is a perfect gift for outdoor enthusiasts or anyone on your gift list any time of the year.” 

Learn more about annual passes at Failure to pay the entrance fee can result in a $25 
parking ticket. Visit the Virginia State Park parking fee webpage for more details on parking fees and how to make payments.